On Thursday, Aug. 9, 2018, Gov. John Bel Edwards will travel to Bedminster, New Jersey to meet with President Donald J. Trump regarding Louisiana’s bipartisan criminal justice reform efforts.  Gov. Edwards accepted the President’s invitation to discuss how Louisiana implemented these reforms with the goals of lowering recidivism and improving public safety.  

“For too long, Louisiana held the title as the state with the highest incarceration rate,” said Gov. Edwards. “Today, that is no longer who we are.  Following the lead of other Southern, conservative states, we came together with legislators from both parties, the business and religious community, and advocates to enact sweeping reforms in our state.  The simple fact of the matter is that what we were doing just wasn’t working. We were locking more people up in Louisiana than anywhere else in the country, and our communities weren’t any safer for it. Our reforms are lowering the incarceration rate, improving public safety, and reducing the recidivism rate. It’s still early, but I’m looking forward to discussing how we made it happen with the President and others as we seek to tackle this problem on a national scale.”

In June, Gov. Edwards released the first performance report of the Louisiana Justice Reinvestment Initiative (JRI).  The report is available here.  In that report, Gov. Edwards announced that Louisiana no longer had the nation’s highest imprisonment rate.  

The Louisiana Justice Reinvestment Initiative (JRI) goals include the following:

  • Focus prison beds on serious threats to public safety
  • Strengthen community supervision
  • Clear away barriers to successful re-entry
  • Reinvest savings into recidivism reduction and crime victim support

Gov. Edwards will travel to New Jersey on Thursday morning and return to Louisiana on Thursday evening.